Each year for the Advent Calendar I try to find a Hawaiian beer for one of the daily selections, but come up short: while Hawaii has a small number of breweries and brewpubs, I couldn’t find any that offered a winter or holiday ale (or at least, nothing that was listed online).
That changes this year with today’s selection: Hawai’i Nui Brewing’s Southern Cross Seasonal Ale, a big winter ale (though “winter ale” in Hawaii seems counterintuitive). Hawai’i Nui is located in Hilo on the Big Island, and though bottles of their main beers can be found outside of Hawaii (they can be shipped), it appears that Southern Cross is only available locally.
This seasonal brew is an intense Imperial Red Ale. Belgian yeast imparts a complex aroma and vivid hop character. Southern Cross is mall-batch brewed with rich malts and lavish hops to deliver an ABV of 8.5%.
“Southern Cross” refers to a constellation usually visible only in the southern hemisphere, though it makes an appearance in northern tropical latitudes (up to 25°N and thus visible in Hawaii) during the winter—the perfect astronomical touchpoint for a seasonal brew.